Exploring Acidity in your Coffee

Ed. 9: When you think of acidity, many would think of citrusy fruit like a lemon or an orange. The truth is coffee is also a great example of a product which can have high amounts of acidity. But what makes coffee acidic? How does acidity impact the overall taste of the coffee?

The acidity in coffee depends on a variety of factors including the bean itself, where the bean is grown, the processing method (wet or dry), and the degree of roasting (light or dark). Coffee beans grown at higher altitudes, such as many in Central and South America, have higher acidity levels. Coffee beans processed by the wet method are also higher in acidity than those processed by the dry method.

The acidity of coffee is actually a sensation one picks up upon drinking coffee, which is felt on the front and sides of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. A similar comparison would be the carbonation in soda. You don’t actually taste carbonation as much as you feel it, although it’s very much a part of the soda’s flavor.

So now you know acidity is as much as a part of coffee as it is in a lemon or a lime. Acidity is a major part of a coffee’s overall taste, but often times overlooked. Whether you like high or low amounts of acidity, it’s always present in every cup. The next component of coffee is the body itself, and that will be discussed by Reid in our next post, so be sure to stay tuned for the next edition of “What Do You Taste?”.

Matt Hogan
Stocton Graham & Co.